I had stayed at the La Playa hotel in the early 1980s on a trip down the coast with my parents. Everything about it then was first class. The staff, rooms, furnishings, food, service were all first rate.
I stayed two other times in the 1990s and found the hotel very pleasant although the room we had off the garden was charming once and dark and damp another time.
We received a promotional rate invitation a month ago in which we were enticed to come to the newly renovated La Playa. Perhaps I should have known something was amiss, when no one could describe the room other than to say they had been renovated. As you'll see, it's not just the cheap renovation that's the problem!
I'll start by saying we received a wonderful welcome from Pandu as we pulled up. From the exterior, the La Playa
Is as beautiful as ever. Lovely flowers flanking a beautiful Mediterranean building. The gardens behind the hotel are still beautiful, the pool still sits majestically in the middle of the gardens and giant sized chess pieces entice for playing an afternoon game.
The check in was seamless- a big bowl of granny smith apples sat on the front counter. We were taken to the only room I was assured on the phone was available- a suite on the top floor. In reality it was one large room with a bed and night stands, a table for four, a sleeper sofa and some comfy chairs. The room has a wicker theme and cushions in calm beiges and celery tones. The carpet is a striped seagrass that makes for a serene room . Similarly, the bathroom had been done over with beige travertine and was done relatively well.
The pros of our room - the view. The view of palm trees and the rooftops and the magnificent Pacific Ocean.
And the room was clean! No question it has just been done over.
But now the cons. This was without a doubt a cheap renovation. The new furniture reeks of cheap. The towels
are cheap and thin. The bath products, while nice, are no more enticing than at a hotel ONE QUARTER the price.
A hotel with a mini bar and NO DRINKS?there was a welcome noted from the manager - nice touch- and three TINY pieces of fruit/ cheap!
The BIGGEST PROBLEM however was the CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH.
We arrived in the breakfast area at 9 am. After being told the hotel was FULL, we noted that there was ONE server who kept going back into the kitchen and bringing out half a dozen baked goodies at a time. The fruit platter was sparse, the cheese and meat breakfast platter had ONE piece of cheese and a few slices of ham. True there were yogurts, warm cereal and juices and coffee and ONE kind of bread to toast. And there was a bottle of champagne as well. There was, to be fair, another person making eggs or omelettes in an adjacent room, but he was clearly overwhelmed and had no idea of who had ordered what and sometimes had three orders going and other times only one order in the frying pan.
Still, it was quite a while that the ONE server brought out supplies- napkins and cutlery on one trip, more fruit on another trip. Finally, two managerial people turned up and started pitching in.
We gave up and left.
So here's what my complaint is. I paid $489. BEFORE tax for the room
and CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH! I was told the room would regularly be in the $650. range. This was WITHOUT a doubt the BIGGEST RIPOFF I have ever experienced. I want my money back. The staff is pleasant but totally unprepared , they lack the professional demeanor of many other places in town and
vicinty. DO NOT STAY at this MAJOR RIPOFF that should be ASHAMED to be charging LONDON or NEW
YORK rates for little better than a two star hotel. I've had better service, rooms and food at hotels a quarter the price all over this country.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- La Playa Carmel is a 75-room historic luxury boutique hotel, newly restored to preserve its turn-of-the-century charm while updating it to modern-day standards. Located two blocks from the beach and village shops, art galleries and restaurants, the hotel is situated in the heart of Carmel and anchors its most prestigious residential neighborhood. The grounds encompass meticulously tended gardens, intimate patios, secluded courtyards and a tranquil terrace swimming pool. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel La Playa
- La Playa Carmel Ca